First responders conduct safety walk-throughs at Springfield City Schools

School district to use state grant to improve school safety

Springfield police officers and firefighters conducted walk-throughs at several city school buildings on Tuesday as the district looks to improve the overall safety of faculty and students.

The recent walk-throughs, which previously have not been conducted in recent years, comes as the Springfield City School District was recently awarded $800,000 in grant funding from the state to be used for the implementation of school safety upgrades.

The walk-throughs on Tuesday involved Springfield SWAT and fire personnel extensively going through a district elementary school, a middle school as well as Springfield High School. Those safety checks were scheduled before the district was awarded grant money by the state for school safety.

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School and public safety officials say the walk-throughs are part of continued efforts to look at the district’s safety measures and what can be done to improve them.

“With everything that is going on in society today, we are trying to help our schools so we can react better to anything that happens,” said Michael Kranz, an investigations captain with the Springfield Police Division.

Kranz said that the police division has a good relationship with the local schools and the walk-throughs also allows officers to conduct a security survey in order to point out what could be improved.

“It really works out well for us to come in and kind of augment what they are doing already and help the school along with some of their physical security side,” Kranz added.

The recent grant from the state will allow the district to allocate $50,000 to each of its 16 school buildings to increase safety measures as well as implement any recommendations made as a result of the recently conducted safety walk-throughs.

“They are getting familiar with the buildings, but they are also looking at certain safety features that we have in place. From their perspective, are those features effective, do they need to be improved? They also just want to establish a good relationship with our administrators as well,” said Jenna Leinasars, a spokesperson for Springfield City Schools, regarding the recent walk-throughs and what local officers and firefighters hope to accomplish with them.

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Not every school building will see a saftey walk-through being conducted and recommendations made for one can be implemented at another, school officials said.

The walkthroughs also allow public safety forces to get a good layout of school buildings in case of an emergency.

“One of the most basic things they are looking at is getting familiar with the buildings. Are things labeled clearly so if a first responder was to enter a building and look for somewhere specific, can they find that space quickly,” Leinasars said.

Members of Springfield SWAT and the Springfield Fire Division are expected to meet with the school district’s Safety Manager to a do a formal debrief and share some recommendations regarding what can be done to improve building and overall school safety.

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